The New York Post is reporting that Gilberto Valle—better known as the "Cannibal Cop," the former NYPD officer who was convicted of conspiring to cook and kill several women before having his conviction overturned—is back on online dating sites, looking for a dinner date. That's alarming, and at least kind of funny, but based on another alleged dating profile we looked into weeks ago, it probably isn't true.
Valle was convicted in March 2013 of conspiring to kidnap, kill and eat several women, including his wife, but he was never sentenced. In July, a federal judge overturned his conviction, ruling that his communications with two other men in an online chat forum for cannibalism enthusiasts were "fantasy role-play."
Understandably, though, Valle's wife Kathleen didn't stick around after discovering pages of chat logs dedicated to fantasies about roasting her in an oven. After she left in September 2012 and tipped off the feds, Valle did start an OkCupid profile, as Gawker reported at the time.
Valle was released to his mother's custody in July; in early January, we got a worried message from a tipster who noticed her OkCupid account had been visited by someone whose face she recognize from the papers. She wrote:
I took one screenshot of his profile before reporting it. It is attached. Not shown in the screenshot, but explained further down in his profile, he says that he's trying to get into law school and that he's in the process of writing a book (hmm, wonder what that's about).
He met his now ex-wife on OkCupid. He was only released from jail in November and he should be BANNED from this dating site.
I do not want to be identified for my own safety.
I just wanted to pass this on so that other women know to be on the lookout.
Here's the screenshot she included; the user's name was AmiableQueensKid:
The user said the profile disappeared from her "Visitors" tab as soon as she reported it; by the time we went looking for it, it had been deleted, although cached versions of other OKCupid users' pages showed it'd been up as recently as mid-December.
At first, I thought the profile could totally have been real. I reasoned that a fake profile for the Cannibal Cop created as a joke would probably contain more references to food, cooking, "love to have you over for dinner," that kind of shit. But the photos were odd. The middle one of Valle and his daughter is crisp and sharp—it's taken from his Facebook profile (which, if it's legitimate, indicates that he's now working as an insurance agent). But the outer two were weirdly grainy, and both can be easily found online, connected to media reports about his case. The one of him in a suit is a detail shot of him standing outside the courthouse during his trial, probably not something you'd put in your profile.
Nonetheless, I emailed OkCupid for comment. It's conceivable that Valle could be back on online dating sites—after all, he was never charged with a sex crime, just conspiracy, and he wasn't even convicted of that. Plus, OkCupid says very clearly in its terms of service that it doesn't verify statements made by its users. You just kind of have to pinky-swear that you're not a sex offender and haven't been convicted of a felony.
Christian Rudder at OkCupid's press office got back to me quickly, with a surprisingly salty statement:
Anna, that profile is clearly a hoax. He uploaded a pic of his perp walk to his profile? It's a fake account meant to generate just the kind of article you seem to want to write.
Pranksters can download pictures and create fake accounts on OkCupid, as they can on any site. Luckily we're just good at catching them quickly.
I'd asked if OkCupid deleted the fake Valle profile, or if the user did that himself. Rudder never responded.
Today, though, the Post is reporting that Valle has "cooked up" a new online dating profile. This time he's on Match and the screenname is "AmicableOne14." But again, the photo—of Valle in a white turtleneck with an NYPD lanyard around his neck—is easily found in a Google image search for the man. The jokes are a little less subtle: now he's looking for a woman who's "a little kinky" and notes that he likes "cooking, dining out and wine tasting." It looks like another clear fake page to me, though other websites seem to have fallen for it.
On Tuesday, a Post reporter went to Valle's house and tried to show him a screenshot of the profile. According to the tabloid, he said, "A what? A dating profile? No, I'm sorry. I don't know anything about it."
It seems like a weird amount of time to put into a hoax, but people have a lot of time on their hands. Or—an alternate, less plausible theory—Gil Valle is back online and really, really needs help picking some better profile photos.
If you see another dating profile purporting to belong to Valle, email us.
Image via AP